Thailand’s New Traffic Rules Come Into Effect This Month

Thailand’s new traffic laws came into force on September 5. While police will be lenient for at least three months while people adjust to the rules, those who don’t improve their behavior on the road could face legal consequences.

The Royal Thai Police Traffic Management Center’s deputy director, Pol General Preecha Charoensahayanont, said traffic offenders would be fined based on the rates used from 2020 for the first three months.

In this period, drivers who exceed the speed limit will not be punished with the old maximum speed 500-baht fine but will have to pay 4,000 baht.

Authorities are also set to promote public awareness of the new laws during this period, Pol General Preecha added.

Under the new rules, drivers who run red lights or fail to stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings can be punished with a maximum fine of 4,000 baht instead of the previous 1,000 baht.

Driving against traffic or failing to use safety equipment, including helmets and seat belts, carries a fine of 2,000 baht, four times the previous amount.

The old rules stated that those found guilty of driving without caring for others’ safety and lives could be punished with a 2,000-10,000 baht fine and a maximum jail sentence of three months. However, these offenders now face a 5,000-20,000 baht fine with a maximum jail sentence of one year.

The new traffic laws harshly penalize driving while intoxicated. Drivers can be fined up to 20,000 baht with up to a year in jail if caught driving under the influence.

Second-time offenders must serve a mandatory prison sentence of up to two years and pay a fine of up to 100,000 baht if they repeat the offense within two years after the first one.

Pol General Preecha explained that the police would recognize the first infraction for the double sanction against repeat offenders from September 5 this year onwards.

The new traffic laws include more offenses, such as preparing to road-race or gathering on a public road with at least five illegally modified cars. Both could be punished with a maximum fine of 5,000 to 10,000 baht.

Auto repair shops caught modifying vehicles for road racing will be considered accomplices and are subject to penalties of up to three months in jail and/or a fine of up to 10,000 baht.

While Thailand hasn’t enforced a child safety seat rule, authorities are expected to draft new guidelines to take effect later this year.